NOW OPEN: Virgin Media in King's Walk. Inset: Amber Clothing.
SHOPPERS and business leaders have welcomed a sudden surge of new retailers opening up in Gloucester.
Since the opening of the Gifts Direct store in the former Hawkshead building on The Cross, another four premises have either opened or are set to open.
First Choice travel agents will soon start trading in the former Early Learning Centre store on Eastgate Street, while both Virgin Media and Amber Clothing have opened in King's Walk.
A fifth empty retail unit will be reopened this morning at 11am, when the Marie Curie cancer charity shop also opens in King's Walk.
Shopper Kerry Williamson, 29, from Tredworth, said the news was good for shoppers.
She said: "The more shops we can get into the city centre, the better. We don't have a bad selection these days."
Mark Owen, chairman of Gloucester's Federation of Small Businesses, said: "It is excellent news for the city and it highlights that Gloucester is bucking the trend.
"It also comes on the back of the fantastic news that the old B&Q site is being renovated and opened up by Go Outdoors and work is going on to convert the old Courts store, and plans for the former Kwik Save.
"It shows retailers from across the country are realising that Gloucester has a strong retail future, and we should support our city as much as possible by shopping here."
Council chiefs are also pleased with the retail boost.
Councillor Paul James, leader of Gloucester City Council, said: "It shows a sense of confidence in our city's future."
Councillor Jeremy Hilton, who represents the area on Gloucestershire County Council, said: "It is encouraging to see new businesses opening. However, the big one we want to see filled is the old Woolworths store."
It is believed Marks & Spencer will take over the site next year. Although it has not confirmed plans to relocate to the Eastgate Street venue.